7.6/10
38,331
239 user 86 critic

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
Over two "typical" days in the life of The Beatles, the boys struggle to keep themselves and Sir Paul McCartney's mischievous grandfather in check while preparing for a live television performance.

Director:

Richard Lester

Writer:

Alun Owen (original screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
The Beatles ... The Beatles
John Lennon ... John
Paul McCartney ... Paul
George Harrison ... George
Ringo Starr ... Ringo
Wilfrid Brambell ... Grandfather
Norman Rossington ... Norm
John Junkin ... Shake
Victor Spinetti ... T.V. Director
Anna Quayle ... Millie
Deryck Guyler ... Police Inspector
Richard Vernon ... Man on Train
Edward Malin Edward Malin ... Hotel Waiter (as Eddie Malin)
Robin Ray Robin Ray ... T.V. Floor Manager
Lionel Blair ... T.V. Choreographer
Learn more

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Storyline

A day and a half in the life of the Fab Four leading up to a televised concert gig. The boys seem to be constantly on the run, from their crazed fans and from their manager, who is constantly trying to rein them in. Sir Ringo Starr however is arrested and still isn't in the studio half an hour before air time. With Sir Paul McCartney's grandfather available for additional comical relief, the group performs a dozen or so songs. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Soaring in their first, full-length, hilarious, action-packed film! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The word "Beatles" is never mentioned in dialogue. However, "The Beatles" is clearly visible on Sir Ringo Starr's bass drumhead, and on the helicopter in the final scene. Also, the background during the final concert "The Beatles" is in lights. See more »

Goofs

The secretary's legs are uncrossed/crossed as she sits on the edge of her boss' desk. See more »

Quotes

[Paul, John and George come out of the studio, looking for Ringo]
Paul: Let's split up and look for him!
[Paul walks away, George and John follow him. Paul turns around]
John: We've become a limited company.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events, or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental See more »

Alternate Versions

In the television show sequence, the song "You Can't Do That" was cut from the original film. In the 30th anniversary special on the making of the film, the cut scene featuring the song is shown after the special. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Birth of the Beatles (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

A Nation Once Again
(1840?) (uncredited)
Written by Thomas Osborne Davis
Sung a cappella by Wilfrid Brambell
See more »

User Reviews

Fun and inventive- a magical musical which stands outside its time
11 October 2007 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

"A Hard Day's Night" doesn't seem dated now, but it does seem familiar. We're used to all its madcap editing and photography now thanks to television and music videos, and we can only sit back and imagine (or try to remember) what it looked like through eyes that had never seen anything like it before. Watching it today, "A Hard Day's Night" still seems fresh and original, because it's still different (we're used to music videos, but not feature-length music videos), but to the 1960's audience it would have seemed entirely different from anything they had previously seen (especially if they were expecting a traditional rock musical, considering that the only good one of those made prior to this which I've seen is "Go Johnny Go").

Lester infuses the film with nonstop quick cutting and energetic pacing, giving the film an almost documentary-like feel (and somehow managing to integrate the biggest pop band in the world into the French 'nouvelle vague' style of film-making). When Orson Welles was interviewed in Playboy magazine in 1967 he said that the film directors that appealed to him the most were 'the old masters- by which I mean John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford. With Ford at his best you feel that the movie had lived and breathed in the real world, even though it may have been written by mother Machree'. When questioned about younger directors he enjoyed the most he named Stanley Kubrick and Richard Lester.

It seems absurd after Kubrick's long and distinguished career and Lester's career which while featuring some famously good films, also includes "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days" (a cheap prequel with none of the original cast), and the notoriously horrible "Superman III" to compare the two directors, but looking at Welles' reasoning behind loving John Ford films, it all makes sense. "A Hard Day's Night" really does feel real, we are basically transported into a day in The Beatles' life and given a VIP pass to accompany them wherever they go. It's a fascinating adventure which the screenplay handles very well.

The Beatles were not actors, but they really come off as themselves because all they have to be is the cocky, wisecracking, and rather charming men they were in real life. The screenwriter is smart enough not to provide them with any real acting, which really helps the film. That's not to say there isn't any good acting in the film, quite to the contrary actually, since Wilfrid Bramble is hilarious as McCartney's grandfather and was presumably cast thanks to his very funny co-starring role on Britcom "Steptoe and Son", which was one of the shows I frequently watched as a kid (and was remade for American audiences as "Sanford and Son").

The film is effortlessly charming, relying on the Beatles' natural charisma to carry the film but also including enough wit to warrant comparisons to later great British comedies and also to the later Beatles films (including Lester's later, slightly funnier and more experimental "Help!"). The Beatles were not yet the musical innovators they would later become, but there's something I personally prefer about their simple, short, and perfect Merseybeat songs, especially those on this soundtrack, which contains some of the most joyous and memorable pop songs ever written.

9/10


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

7 July 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Hard Day's Night See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$560,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,445, 3 December 2000

Gross USA:

$1,480,356

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,360,561
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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